- JD(S) chief Deve Gowda asked Congress to keep its MLAs under control
- An angry Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had earlier offered to quit
- They were angry over being criticised by legislators of ally Congress
In an indication of widening cracks in Karnataka's coalition government, Janata Dal (Secular) chief Deve Gowda on Thursday condemned the increasing frequency with which Congress legislators were taking potshots at his son -- Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy -- and warned that he cannot remain silent on the matter anymore.
The former Prime Minister demanded that the Congress prevent its legislators from uttering loose remarks that could hurt their working relationship. "Is this any way to run a coalition government? Every day, we have to request our coalition partner to not utter unparliamentary remarks," he said.
Mr Gowda claimed that he has been "in pain" ever since his son became the Chief Minister half a year ago. "All kinds of things have happened in these six months. I have not opened my mouth till now, but I can't keep quiet anymore," he added.
A few days ago, a visibly offended Mr Kumaraswamy had even offered to quit his post.
The warnings issued by Mr Gowda and his son are seen as a reaction to Congress legislator ST Somasekhar's recent remark that Karnataka would have witnessed "real development" if former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had received another term. His party colleague, C Puttarangashetty, went a step further by saying that Mr Siddaramaiah is the only chief minister in his book.
On Monday, Mr Kumaraswamy asked its alliance partner to control its lawmakers because they were "crossing the alliance line". "If they want to continue with the same thing, I am ready to step down. They are crossing the line," he told reporters, adding that such wayward behaviour will only hurt the alliance partner.
The Congress tried to make amends in the hours that followed, with state unit chief Dinesh Gundu Rao saying that "statements crossing the lakshmanrekha of coalition politics" will not be tolerated. He also said that Mr Somasekhar has apologised for his remarks.
Mr Kumaraswamy seems to have calmed down since then. "I'm telling you all as well as the people of the state to have faith in me. Yes, I did say yesterday that I will resign due to certain developments. I said that because a few people were talking against me," he said today.
The Congress had joined hands with the Janata Dal (Secular) to keep the BJP out of power after the Karnataka elections threw up a hung assembly last year. State BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa had said at the time that the "unholy alliance" between the two parties will not last.
(With inputs from Agencies)